Part of Shidduchim 101 – Part 6
Obviously, it is inappropriate to show any affection before becoming engaged. However, caring is not affection. Caring means being interested in her well-being, i.e. both physical and emotional comfort.
On a date, the boy should focus on making the girl feel comfortable. This alleviates some of the uneasiness in the atmosphere, and, more importantly, makes her feel that the boy cares about her.
Let me veer off on a slight tangent. A girl’s self-image is closely linked to her feelings. As such, when one validates her feelings, it is equivalent to telling her, “I think you’re great!” Validation includes saying that her feelings are well-founded and demonstrating that he really understands her. If he says, or implies that there is no basis for her feelings, that is akin to telling her, “You don’t matter”. For example, if she expresses concern about something, saying that there is a simple solution to her problem sounds to her as though her feelings don’t matter. This is true even if he listens to her patiently for twenty minutes before stating his opinion. All feelings need validation, including, nervousness, happiness, sadness, upset, etc., and feelings on a given subject, i.e., “I think this is right/wrong,” etc. Even if you disagree, validate her feelings first. Then, gently show her the other side of the coin.
As previously mentioned, since her feelings are important to her, it is always a good idea to ask for them on whatever the subject. This shows the girl that he care about her.